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How Are Spousal Maintenance Decisions Made in Illinois?

Posted on in Spousal Maintenance

maintenance, Wheaton divorce lawyersIf you are considering divorce in Illinois, you probably have many questions. One of these may be about whether or not you will be required to pay alimony, or spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is designed to help financially support a lesser-earning spouse after a divorce. While spousal maintenance is awarded less often now than it was in the past, there is still a possibility you will be required to make spousal maintenance payments. Read on to learn about alimony laws in Illinois, as well as how recent federal tax law changes can affect the amount of alimony spouses pay and receive.

Spousal Support Basics

Spousal maintenance, or spousal support, can often be a contentious issue during a divorce. Courts examine many factors when deciding whether or not a spousal maintenance order is appropriate. When making spousal support decisions, Illinois courts typically consider:

  • Any existing premarital or prenuptial agreements between the parties;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • How long the marriage lasted;
  • Each party’s property and income including retirement and disability income;
  • The age and health of each party;
  • Each party’s present and future earning capacity;
  • Contributions each party made to the marriage including contributions made as a homemaker or stay-at-home-parent;
  • Contributions that one spouse made to the advancement of the other spouse’s education or career;
  • How long it will take the party requesting support to gain suitable education, training, and employment;
  • Tax consequences of spousal maintenance options; and
  • Other factors that the court believes are fair and pertinent.

How Recent Changes in Tax Law Affect Spousal Support

Previous to the recent passage of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, spousal maintenance payers were able to claim maintenance payments as a deduction on annual tax returns. The spouse receiving alimony was obligated to report maintenance received as taxable income. Now, spousal maintenance payers do not receive a deduction, and maintenance recipients will no longer report payments as taxable income.

Many worry about the financial implications of this change. The previous tax deduction helped offset the net cost of maintenance payments. Without this deduction, many maintenance payers are subject to higher taxation, which will likely limits the amount of maintenance some payer spouses can afford. Consequently, some recipient spouses may receive much less in maintenance payments each month.

Contact a Wheaton, Illinois Divorce Lawyer

For help with spousal maintenance and other aspects of your Illinois divorce, contact a knowledgeable and experienced DuPage County spousal support attorney from Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC. To schedule a consultation, call 630-665-2500 and speak to a member of our team today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K504.htm

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-tax-law-eliminates-alimony-deductions-but-not-for-everybody-2018-01-23

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